How are you finding inspiration on your travels and please give us a hint as to what we can look forward to without giving too much away?
- I’m looking at refining our offering to guests. We will still focus heavily on cooking over a fire, but stepping away from the meaty menu that we’ve become known for. You’ll find a lot more seafood and vegetables in the upcoming project.
You have learnt from the best in business. With all that professional training under your belt, you certainly have a highly developed palate. How do you break the mould and challenge yourself to continue to explore new flavour sensations for your patrons?
- I can’t say I’ve ever been “in the mould”. I’ve always found it quite easy to enjoy lesser known foods and more challenging flavours. The hard part is encouraging guests to try new things. That’s the big challenge.
What are some of the most interesting and exciting flavour combinations you have experienced and how have your travels presented you with these new experiences?
- One of the most surprising finds of my recent travels has actually been the lack of surprise at new flavours and techniques. I used to believe that we as country were far behind as opposed to what international chefs are up to. I don’t believe that is the case anymore.
Speaking of new flavour combinations, one of your specialities is the fine art of preparing red meat to perfection. Can you give us some unique pairing ideas with red meat?
- Traditionally in South Africa, Rose Champagne is often paired with sweet treats.
- However, there’s a new school of thought that says that Rose Champagne also pairs beautifully with red meat. A really interesting combination is how well Moet Rose pairs with meat dishes, especially beef and venison.
Cape Town and, indeed, South Africa are such melting pots of influences and flavours. Do you find people are more open to experimentation here than elsewhere?
- Quite the opposite. I’ve found that we are far less open to trying “strange” flavours, cuts and combinations. I’m hoping this is something that I can help change in the coming years.
We can’t wait to experience a new chapter in the life of prodigy chef Ash Heeger in this phase of reinvention, what is your motto and your mantra for success?
- My motto is, and always has been - cook from the heart and the rest will follow!
Connect with Chef Ash for updates on her upcoming venture on Instagram - ASH restaurant is at 81 Church Street, Cape Town.